Photo courtesy of Prospera Centre
There are lots of stories flying around about the WHL’s Chilliwack Bruins relocation to Victoria, but obviously there would be an impact on the BCHL with Prospera Centre needing a tenant and the Grizzlies currently the only junior team in our provincial capital.
Here’s the latest from The Chilliwack Times:
WHL has approved Chilliwack Bruins move to Victoria
By Tyler Olsen, Chilliwack Times April 8, 2011
The consultant working with outgoing Chilliwack Bruins minority owners Jim Bond and Moray Keith has confirmed that the Western Hockey League franchise’s move to Victoria is inevitable.
Ringdal said the league has conditionally approved not just the sale—as the WHL declared Tuesday—but also the relocation of the club.
And those conditions, says Glen Ringdal, “are not very onerous” and “within the hands of the league.”
It had previously been unclear, but largely assumed, that the league’s approval of the club’s sale included its movement to Victoria.
But in the past three days, the franchise has begun to wind down operations in Chilliwack Some, but not all, Chilliwack Bruins staff members have been handed lay off notices as the Western Hockey League franchise clear the way for the team’s move to Victoria, according to a source with intimate knowledge of the situation.
Not all staff members will stop working immediately, but many have been told that their time working for the club is coming to an end.
Kamloops Daily News sports editor Gregg Drinnan has also reported that the team is set to change hands on April 17 and that soon thereafter moving trucks will arrive to move the club’s assets. The Times has been unable to independently confirm the report.
With the Bruins leaving, the focus has turned to what may replace them in Prospera Centre next year.
Ringdal told the Times that “there is a possibility that another team in the league may wish to relocate to Chilliwack and the only one that I’m aware of is Prince George that has some interest.
“That was reported long ago,” he continued. “That’s no news from me, but whether or not that can happen, there’s no deal in place . . . but we’re prepared to talk and see if that’s a possibility and in the end, that would probably be good for everybody.”
Ringdal said the Western Hockey League isn’t interested in expansion.
But he said that “if there is any movement in the league, they would be involved in that and they would be helpful, as they were in the movement from Chilliwack to Victoria. They worked with the group there.”
If a Western Hockey League team can’t be brought to Chilliwack, Ringdal, Keith and Bond would turn their attention to securing either a British Columbia Hockey League team or, possibly, an East Coast Hockey League team. The latter option hasn’t been fully explored, but Ringdal said “we have spoked to the [BCHL] and I think we would be welcomed into the league.”
It appears that a change is in the works for Langley if the BCHL Board of Governors vote goes Roy Henderson’s way this Wednesday. Here’s that story from The Langley Times:
Sale would mean end of Chiefs
By Gary Ahuja – Langley Times
Should the sale be approved, the Langley Chiefs will be no more.
“The Chiefs are synonymous with Chilliwack,” said Roy Henderson, who has submitted a bid to purchase the junior A hockey club, along with his brother John.
“To be honest, the Langley fans detested the Chiefs for many years. I remember (when my son played for Chilliwack) I used to have to go into that building and listen to it.”
The Hendersons have submitted a bid to buy the Langley Chiefs from its current ownership group, which is led by Moray Keith, Jim Bond and current coach Harvey Smyl.
They are meeting with the B.C. Hockey League franchise committee on Wednesday (April 13). Following that, the league’s board of governors would vote on the sale. There is no date set yet for the vote.
Should the sale go through, Henderson said they would find a new moniker for the team.
Speculation is that Chilliwack could potentially land another BCHL junior A club, since the Chilliwack Bruins have been sold and are rumored to be heading to Victoria, leaving a void in that hockey market.
“The Chiefs belong in Chilliwack,” Henderson said.
The team was not listed for sale, but the Hendersons initiated the talks.
Roy Henderson is the long-time operator of Global Sports Scouting Services Inc., which runs hockey clinics for peewee, bantam, midget and junior hockey players to showcase their talents for prospective coaches and scouts.
John Henderson is an accountant.
“I think my brother and myself … are looking for a new challenge in life,” Roy Henderson said.
“Global has been a family business and we want to take this to that level,” Henderson said. “We like the idea of helping kids along the way to going to college or going to the next level. It really intrigues us.”
The Langley team would be a family-run business.
Roy Henderson’s two sons would also be involved.
Taylor Henderson has a marketing background from BCIT, while Bobby Henderson — who spent five years playing junior A with Chilliwack, including a stint in his final year as captain — would likely serve as an assistant coach. Bobby Henderson played NCAA hockey with the University of Nebraska-Omaha and is currently involved with Global Sports in a hockey operations capacity. His brother is also involved, but in the administration and marketing side of things.
This would not be the first time Roy Henderson is involved with junior hockey in Langley.
Junior A hockey returned to Langley in 1994 with the Thunder, and Henderson served as the general manager.
Back then, the team played out of the Langley Civic Centre (which is now the George Preston Recreation Centre) and Henderson remembers the buzz around town.
“We used to fill that place on a Friday night, it was really humming,” he said.
The key to succeeding is building local relationships, especially with minor hockey.
“We want to get really involved with the community and with minor hockey,” Henderson said. “With minor hockey it is very simple: if you go out of your way to help the, they will go out of their way to help you.
“And we are prepared to go out of our way to help them.”
If the sale does proceed, Henderson said the team’s name will be something completely new. In the past, local junior hockey teams have been the Lords, Thunder, Hornets and Chiefs.
“It will be a new identity and it will have something to do with Langley and its demographics,” he said.